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Rover Vitesse, Day One

As usual, I don’t mess around when I get a new car. It was time to see what I had.

Update – The Car Page for the Vitesse is now up. Check it out for more details.

Having the car delivered so late at night I didn’t really get a chance to give it a good look, or unload any of the parts that were in it.

In the light of day, she still looked great

The first task of the day was to unload everything from the back. It was packed to the roof with spare parts.

Out came the doors, which were on top. Well packed, and well protected. There are a complete set of four doors here, and either they are new old stock, or have been well looked after and stored because they are in very good condition with only surface rust on them. No signs of paint though.

With the doors out it was time to start pulling all the boxes of everything else out

Theres a lot of parts, including two mostly complete EFI inlet manifolds and plenums, some shocks, some lights and window regulators. Also most of the original parts that were on the car at various times, like the intake and original fan.

Oh and who could forget, a complete spare D suffix LT77 gearbox

With the car empty now, the true condition of the boot carpeting was revealed. It’s not had a good life this boot. The bottom carpet is missing, but there is a tide mark up the side carpets and it appears it’s had a lot of oil or something spilled all through it. The top carpet is badly stained also.

I’ll give it all a good wet vac and hopefully it’ll come up better but I may need to source replacements for some of it. The good news is the boot floor itself looks nice and solid (albeit blue, not black…). In the meantime I gave the interior a good vacuum to get the rubbish, and unfortunately, the mouse turds out. The car doesn’t smell like mice like GRU did but there is mouse poo everywhere.

Also found in the boot was this little Schrader valve. It links to the two rear shocks, and sure enough, when I put air into it the rear of the car raised up, so they still work. The car has had a towbar before (and will again) so must have had the load levelling shocks added to tow heavy stuff

Now that I could put the rear seat back up I was pleasantly surprised at the condition of the fabric. It has no tears and little to no wear. The Vitesse has bespoke fabric, so getting replacements wouldn’t be fun.

The front seats have had seat covers on for as long as the previous owner could remember, and he never checked under them to see what the seat under it was like. I didn’t like the covers, as the fluffy wool is just too “old man” for the racy Vitesse, so off they came.

So, what were the seats like under them? Perfect. There is one little mark on the driver’s seat but otherwise no wear. I’m very happy. You can also see the more aggressive seat bolsters. Compared to the VDP, it makes the VDP seats feel like flat benches.

Since I was in the interior already I had to have a nosy at the Link ECU

The wiring isn’t the cleanest I have seen, but apparently it worked

I removed the Link and opened it up to see if I could identify the model, as some of the later ones could be tuned by computer. This isn’t one of them

I removed the board and noticed it has had a serious failure in the past. One of the injector tracks on the board was completely burnt out. Its been fixed, along with the couple of other little sections, but still doesn’t give confidence.

The Link will stay for now, as if I can get it running it’s a good option, but if I cant get it running properly then i’ll need to see what my other options are.

Moving along, I wanted to see if any of the basics could help with the starting issue. Check out that engine, now with added structural supporting broom.

First I added 10L of 98 octane fuel, and a bottle of injector cleaner to the tank. Its been sitting for ages, so it’s likely the old fuel has gone off.

Then I replaced all the spark plugs. The old plugs were jet black and smelled of varnish, not a good sign. They were the correct BPR6ES though.

I also replaced the distributor cap, coil and injector resistor pack. I checked and the fuel pump is operating, despite sounding a bit odd. None of these helped, it’s still really hard to start. When it does start though, it makes some awesome noises.

I’m thinking the issue could be the pickup in the distributor, or an issue with the locked out timing. In order for the Link to control the ignition advance the mechanical and vacuum advance in the distributor have been locked in place, I’m wondering if this is moving and throwing the timing out. I’ll need to remove the distributor and have a look.

Theres still more work to be done.

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2 years ago

Love your blogs about Rovers. Great to see you have another one!

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